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WARNING: Vaping products contain Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical - Health Canada
WARNING: Vaping products contain Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical - Health Canada

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The Beginner’s Guide to Vaping


Christopher Fournier


May 6, 2022

Woman vaping on sports bench


  • Choose between Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) vaping for a closer feel to traditional smoking or Direct-to-Lung (DTL) vaping for larger vapor clouds and intense flavors.
  • Every vape device has an atomizer (transforms e-liquid to vapor), a battery (powers the device), and uses e-liquid as its “fuel”.
  • Vapes commonly come in several different types. Options include vape pens, pod systems, and vape mods.
  • UWell and SMOK produce several excellent devices for beginner users. Vape mods are typically recommended for more advanced users, since their features provide a higher degree of customization.

The Beginner’s Guide to Vaping

So, you’ve decided to pick up vaping and you’re looking for advice on where to start. Vape culture has a ton of different terms and technologies to understand, and some people find it a little confusing at first. But don’t worry—once you’re familiar with the lingo and aware of a few key questions you should ask when picking out products, you’ll be hitting it out of the park in no time (or hitting it in the park, more likely).

Here at U Vape, we sell a massive variety of vaping products, and we’re always happy to share info on how to use them. Below, you’ll find our guide to getting started with vaping—from a breakdown of different vaping styles to a description of common systems and suggested products for beginners.

Vaping Styles Explained

One of the first things you’ll have to determine for yourself before purchasing a vape system is your vaping style—do you prefer MTL or DTL vaping? Maybe you’re not sure what either of those terms mean. Don’t worry; here’s the difference:

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) Vaping

Mouth-to-lung vaping is the closest style to smoking a traditional cigarette. You draw from the device, hold the vapour in your mouth, then take it into the lungs before exhaling. Devices designed for MTL vaping typically produce less airflow during each hit, have lower power output levels and are meant to be used with e-liquids that have higher nicotine strengths.

Direct-to-Lung (DTL) Vaping

Direct-to-lung vaping involves taking each hit directly into the lungs. As a result, devices designed for DTL vaping use coils that produce more airflow, and have higher power output levels. They also use e-liquids that have lower nicotine strengths. However, DTL vaping often produces a much larger vapour cloud and a more intense flavour than MTL vaping.

So lesson number one for you beginners is this: figure out how you want to vape before you buy your first device. Not sure yet? Some devices have variable wattage and numerous coil sizes, allowing them to be configured for either MTL or DTL vaping. But hang on—what’s a coil? Don’t worry; we’re getting to that next.

man blowing a large vape cloud

Anatomy of a Vape System

There are a few different types of vape device out there, but they all have a few key components in common. Here’s an overview of what makes practically every vape device tick:


The atomizer in your vape device is responsible for transforming the e-liquid it contains into vapour you can inhale through the mouthpiece. In many devices, the atomizer takes the form of a compartment that houses a coil wrapped around a wick.

Coils are made from metal and heated by a charge from the battery in the device. When heated, the coil causes the e-liquid saturating the wick to evaporate, turning it from liquid into vapour.

Wicks are normally made from cotton. They draw e-liquid from the cartridge in your device so it can be heated by the coils and vapourized.


The battery in your vape device is responsible for sending current through the coil, heating it up and causing it to vapourize the e-liquid saturating the wick. The power output of your device and the capacity of the battery (measured in mAh) will determine how long you can use it between charges.

A charge connector is built into the bottom of most vape devices so that the battery can be replenished. Most newer vape devices charge via USB-C fast charging ports and cables, although standard USB chargers still appear on some devices.


Finally, all vape devices use e-liquid, which is like the “fuel” for your device. E-liquid comes in a wide variety of different flavours—from fruits to various tobaccos and cool menthol varieties. But some types of vape devices store the e-liquid differently than others. Now, it’s time to discuss different vaping systems.

Types of Vape Systems

Now that you have a general idea of how vaping works, it’s time to look at some different types of vape systems. These each have their own pros and cons, so consider carefully which one will serve you best:

woman holding a small vape pen

Vape Pens

Vape pens are generally long and slender, containing a built-in compartment for e-liquid and a replaceable atomizer coil. They’re pretty simple to use—just refill the compartment when it’s out of e-liquid, and disassemble the pen to replace the atomizer coil when the flavour of your device begins to deteriorate.

Pros: most vape pens produce larger clouds of vapour than pod systems, making them attractive to users who prefer DTL vaping. They often have larger batteries, too—although that’s not always the case since many modern pod systems are being designed with extra battery capacity.

Cons: if you’re into MTL vaping, it may be harder to find a vape pen that works for you.

person adjusting vape settings

Pod Systems

Pod systems differ from vape pens in that they don’t hold e-liquid directly—instead, the e-liquid and atomizer are usually housed in a separate module (called, you guessed it: a pod) that can be snapped in and out of the device. The device’s body generally consists of the battery, the charge connector, and any controls or displays the device offers as features.

Pros: most pod systems offer an extremely wide variety of differently-flavoured pods, so you’ll have a great time exploring all your options. Some pod systems use refillable pods (more eco-friendly), while others use disposables (which you can simply plug in and toss after using, significantly reducing the time you’ll spend maintaining your device). They’re basically ideal for new users.

Cons: these devices, while versatile and easy to use, generally don’t have quite the same amount of power as vape mods.

Suggested for Beginners:

man holding vape and blowing big cloud

Vape Mods

Vape mods are significantly bulkier than pens or pod systems, and often include a boxy tank to hold e-liquid. They also tend to offer much higher power output levels, making them primarily useful for DTL vaping.

Pros: vape mods tend to be the most powerful and have the highest-capacity batteries. They often come with tons of advanced features—although pod systems are increasingly being made with more tools to customise your draw style as well.

Cons: vape mods tend to be larger and less portable than pod systems. They’re also more expensive. Finally, some advanced features (like custom power curves) will likely be too complex for newer users, and may overly complicate your vaping experience. Plus, you won’t have much luck with MTL vaping on most vape mods.

Suggested for Beginners:

  • Vape mods are not recommended for beginners

Ready to Start Vaping?

Hopefully the info we’ve provided above gives you a good idea of where and how to start your vaping journey. Need extra information on vaping or any of the products we sell? Get in touch and speak to someone on our team who will be happy to tell you more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between MTL and DTL vaping?

MTL vaping is generally considered to be closer to the experience of smoking traditional tobacco products, owing to the reduced airflow, while DTL offers direct inhales with larger vapor clouds and more intense flavours.

How are vape pens different from pod systems?

Vape pens have a built-in compartment for e-liquid and a replaceable atomizer coil. Pod systems, on the other hand, use separate modules (pods) that contain the e-liquid and atomizer.

Are vape mods suitable for beginners?

Typically, vape mods are not recommended for beginners due to their size, cost, and advanced features.

Can I switch between MTL and DTL vaping on a single device?

Some devices have variable wattage and multiple coil sizes, allowing configuration for either MTL or DTL vaping.

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